Hotel Partnerships

[I wrote this for the Ogilvy PR travel and tourism blog, and thought it had some relevance here]

I recently read on Springwise about a nice promotion from Omni Hotels called Omni Flips for Summer.   From Springwise …

… families staying at any of the chain’s hotels and resorts in North America can borrow a pocket-sized video camcorder for free and use it to record their most memorable moments. The camcorder provided is the new Flip Ultra video camcorder, launched this spring by Pure Digital, and it’s available to guests who purchase any “Omni Flips for Summer” weekend package … When their weekend filming is complete, guests can upload their video memories to their own laptop or use the Omni Hotels Business Center at no charge to transfer the footage to a thumb drive to take home. Guests are also encouraged to upload a three-minute video to Omni’s Local Scoop social networking website as part of the Omni Flips for Summer Video Contest, the winner of which—announced in September—will get a free trip for four to the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Pennsylvania.

In the last few years hotels have become a very attractive environment for brands to reach their targets.  In my experience, here are a few things brands should keep in mind when partnering with hotels:

  1. Simplicity. Hotel brands are usually governed by a centralized brand team, but operations are very much determined property-by-property.   And these days, operations teams are stretched thin.  The more you - the brand - can do to create a truly turnkey promotion, the better your chances for success.
  2. Beta. Rolling a promotion out to an entire chain of hotels is risky, expensive, and will require logistics coordination you never imagined.  Instead, pilot the promotion in one or two markets - validate guests interest and take the opportunity to tweak the operational aspects to make it easier on a grander scale.
  3. Localize. If possible, try to localize the promotion to make it more interesting to the guests in a particular market.
  4. Delight. Travel - particularly business travel - can be grueling.  When possible, delight guests with something unexpected and fun.  At the very least, don’t make them jump through hoops.
  5. Talkability. Don’t think me too.  Think me first.  The latter will generate much more word-of-mouth.

So what else should go on this list?